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To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee - Do you think Atticus is a Convincing Character or is he just a way for Harper Lee to convey her ideas?

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Introduction

"To Kill a Mockingbird" (Harper Lee) Do you think Atticus is a Convincing Character or is he just a way for Harper Lee to convey her ideas? Laura Smallcombe October 2001 In this essay I am going to address the way in which Atticus Finch is portrayed as a character, but also as a symbol for humanity and a way for the authors possibly radical ideas to be conveyed in Harper Lee's novel "To kill a Mockingbird". Atticus is one of the main characters in the play and novel and is also the strongest and most complex figure to study. As a father, lawyer and member of the community, Atticus plays many roles, all very similar, yet all different. As a father Atticus is truthful, fair and never patronises his children, Jean Louise (Scout) and Jem. He acts as both a father and a teacher to them, educating them in the social and moral expectations and etiquettes of their society. He treats them with respect and wants them to understand why things happen in the community, what is wrong with society and how to try and change them and improve themselves at the same time. Atticus didn't believe in spoiling his children or shouting at them and believed in respect between himself and his children. ...read more.

Middle

He is never too harsh and never overly kind, he gives respect and is respected, in fact, he seems in every way the ideal parent. The reader is shown in every aspect of family life what a good father he is and perhaps his only fault as a character is that he has no large flaws, no vices or bad habits, and this, in a way, begins to make you wonder if Atticus is really a believable character. After all, is anyone really perfect? As a lawyer, Atticus once again comes across as the ideal character; clear, fair and eloquent- the best man at his job. The whole fact that he took Tom Robinson's case and listened to his conscience, when he knew he would lose, showed what sort of character Harper Lee wanted Atticus to be. He knew that the justice system at that time was prejudiced and immoral and that it was certain that Tom Robinson would be found guilty. " We were licked before we started" This shows the reader that deep down Atticus was aware that the case was hopeless, but he acted on his principals and took it anyway. In this role it also came across how clever Finch was. He used subtle but clear points to tear the opposition to shreds yet always remained calm, cool and polite; the 'perfect southern gentleman'. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is definitely an ideal character and therefore all the other characters are compared to him and he is also someone you want to believe in, yet somehow this is not quite possible. In a way, I think Atticus is not quite human enough to be believable, and the fact that his only flaws are that he is too nice and always sees the good in people confirm this. No one is perfect and the fact that Atticus has so little faults takes away some of his dimension and gravity. He is believable only as a character of fantasy and as a subtle way for Harper Lee to convey her ideas about racial prejudice and her views on America at that time in history. Throughout the play Atticus is the voice of truth and fairness, and is a very consistent character, keeping to his principals and values- he is the same at home as he is in front of the community, which although sounds like a wonderful thing to be, is highly unrealistic. He shows the reader everything that is wrong with society and how, if more people are like him in the future people and society might change. He is a series of ideas, beliefs and dreams, and is therefore used as a way to channel Lee's new ideas into a believable format. Enveloping these radical ideas within a mild mannered, moderate, inoffensive character perhaps made them more acceptable to the people of the time. ...read more.

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